Today, May 7, indie/psych-rock/electronic artist and multi-instrumentalist White Cliffs (aka Rafe Cohan) has released his second EP of 2021, titled 101. The EP is a dreamy, melancholy collection of tunes that highlight Cohan’s virtuosic levels of musicality.
Listen to 101 here: https://orcd.co/whitecliffs101
“101 was made during the height of the pandemic,” says Cohan. “I was upstate recording some demos on a farm, and on my way home I realized my roommate had gotten sick. With all the gear in the car already, I moved into my girlfriends apartment and set up a little studio there for the next two months. By the time I moved back home, I had these six songs that seemed to go well together. I had so much limitation in that space, which helped me keep things simple. The sound of the EP mirrors how a lot of us felt while we were stuck in our little apartments.”
The opening track, “Never Enough” is a song about relationships and the classic power struggle that comes from expectation and communication. “We’ve all been there when nothing we do ever seems to be enough for those we love” says White Cliffs of the track. “To keep it from being too sad, the song comes around with a theme of reconciliation at the end. These stress points in our relationships are always temporary after all.”
“One By One” is a cheeky little story about small-town America, basically speaking to the monotony and uniformity that comes with it. Real estate developers creating rows of nameless homes, complete with vinyl picket fences. “It’s a silly little painting of an exaggerated stereotype that we’ve all seen in various media.”
The lead single off 101 is “Easy Go”– a song about the duality of life in New York City, and how this constant up and down is an optional side quest that New Yorkers bring upon themselves when they arrive in their U Haul.
“Safer At Home” is an unabashed lockdown tune, which seeks to isolate the restless, hyper, and dark mood we all had for 8 weeks in the spring of 2020. “It’s super-fast, yet small-sounding” says Cohan. “I made this one in my headphones on a particularly restless day. I think my ears were all messed up by the time I was done with it because I listened to the tune about 1000 times that night.”
“Opposite Shores” is “an awesome and rare collaboration with my friend Andy Polk, this song speaks to the tragic divide in our political discourse right now. It basically speaks of the dangers of polarization, forgiving our tendency to generalize because vicious dialogue backs us into our respective political corners. This is a frustrated song of peace that speaks to a basic urge to come together, rather than stand on opposite shores with our verbal weapons drawn.”
101 closes with “Out for Dancing” which is a cute little tale of social manipulation. The point of view in this song comes from someone who has had enough of the niceties, the belittling, and the hidden motives of their peers. “‘Don’t just take me out for dancing’ speaks to the way that we all want and deserve respect and forthrightness in our social interactions, rather than a cheap substitution for those things.”
Earlier this year, White Cliffs released his debut EP Stockholm, with singles and self-directed/produced music videos for “Kick The Can” a playful song about mortality and aging and “Just Like You” a catchy groove about imposter syndrome. “Just Like You” premiered in American Songwriter in January of this year. White Cliffs recently appeared in Vents Magazine with the premiere of “Kick The Can” and also discussed the life-altering properties of seeing Khruangbin live in LA Weekly and the Village Voice. Next up for White Cliffs will be the Joris Voorn remix of his track “Just Like You” out May 21.
About White Cliffs:
If there are two sides of a musical coin, Brooklyn-based White Cliffs (A.K.A. Rafe Cohan) is a purist on one and an unconventional creator on the other – in one moment enveloped in the mastery of instruments and another lost in the art of producing. It’s a complex that he might at times find to be a curse to his canvas, but in reality, it is the reason behind the resulting collage of sound. After years of honing his craft and experimenting with a variety of instruments, genres and vocal styles, under the moniker White Cliffs, the act’s music took off starting in 2017, securing a cross-country tour with Big Wild, among other acts like Elderbrook, STS9, in addition to a set at the Panorama Festival in New York City and debuting a four-person band at CRSSD Festival in San Diego.